Bethlehem Steel fined $6 million for pollution

September 04, 1993|By Bloomberg Business News

WASHINGTON -- Bethlehem Steel Corp. was fined $6 million -- the largest ever under the federal government's hazardous-waste law -- for "longstanding and willful" violations at its Burns Harbor, Ind., plant, the Justice Department said yesterday.

A federal judge imposed the civil penalty Tuesday after finding that Bethlehem Steel, the nation's second-largest steelmaker, "failed for many years" to address environmental problems that included contaminated soils in a landfill, the Justice Department said.

Bethlehem Steel said the alleged violations involved sludge from a waste-water treatment plant that was stored on site more than 10 years ago. The Burns Harbor facility manufactures flat rolled steel and employs 6,000.

Bethlehem Steel said it is appealing the penalty order and the finding of liability reached in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, Ind. The company, which also operates a steel mill at Sparrows Point, said it is confident that it will prevail.

"Bethlehem believes that neither the landfill nor the lagoons at issue present any actual risk to the environment," the company said in a written statement.

The Justice Department filed the complaint against Bethlehem Steel on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.

"This record-setting judgment should send a strong signal to the regulated community," said Steven A. Herman, an EPA assistant administrator for enforcement. "We will not tolerate companies flaunting our hazardous-waste laws."

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